WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE A WILL?

If you are single, your assets will be distributed to your children or grandchildren, if you have any, or to your parents, siblings, or other relatives. If you spouse dies before you, it is possible that his or her relatives may have claims against your estate. As a result, if you have specific wishes for the distribution of your assets or for the care of your children or grandchildren, it is important to make a will to ensure those wishes will be carried out.

Estate Planning

What is a will?

Your will is a legal document to give instructions for carrying out after your death. A will can be changed while you are living, but it becomes irrevocable when you die.

Beneficiaries

You generally name beneficiaries to receive your assets according to the instructions in your will: your spouse, family members, charitable organizations, etc. You may designate specific gifts like jewelry or money to certain beneficiaries and then direct the remainder elsewhere.

Guardian for your minor children

You may elect to designate a person or persons to be responsible for your child’s personal care if you and your spouse die before your child turns 18. You may also designate a guardian responsible for managing assets for your child, which may be the same person as the person designated for your child’s care.

Executor

You may nominate a person to manage your assets; pay any debts, expenses, and taxes due; and then distribute assets to your beneficiaries. This person serves a crucial and time-consuming role, so you should choose your executor carefully.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD I KNOW?

Power of Attorney

By giving someone power of attorney, you designate that person to make decisions for you and your property if you are incapacitated. For example, if you are in a long-term care facility, someone with your power of attorney could sell your car for you or manage your bank account. Often, power of attorney is delegated to a spouse or a close friend.

These can be simple things like the sale of a car while you are in a long-term care facility if the car is only in your name, not you and your spouse, or your best friend needs to handle your bank account for you.

Health Care Power of Attorney

If you become severely injured or incapacitated, or both, you may want to designate a spouse or friend to make health care decisions for you. Your doctor may know what is best for you medically, but your spouse or friend is more likely to know what your personal decision would be.

We can handle a basic Will, Power of Attorney, and Health Care Power of Attorney for just $300 per person or $500 per couple. Trusts and more complicated estate planning situations are also possibilities. Call us today to discuss your estate planning needs.